The Virtual Merchant

virtual merchant

The Virtual Merchant

A new type of business has been born. The virtual merchant. This type of business is powered by a virtual terminal which enables merchants and business owners to securely accept credit cards inside a web browser.

What Makes a Merchant Virtual?

A virtual merchant is a business that uses a virtual terminal or remote processing software to accept credit and debit cards as a form of payment. Over the past few decades, credit card processing has evolved concurrently with the internet to allow almost multiple forms of transactions to take place online.

This has enabled businesses to spread their goods beyond a 50-mile radius of their storefront. A story we’ve heard before begins with a local business closing down. The owner doesn’t want to quit, and spends a few months working out some details. The business is relaunched with a stronger online presence – usually backed by social media and ecommerce.

But that’s not the only way business owners are becoming virtual merchants. Other businesses maintain their retail location, and use an ecommerce merchant account to expand their footprint.

The technology behind a virtual terminal has eased the transition from retail to ecommerce for thousands of businesses by earning their trust and providing a much-needed service. Since the technology was introduced decades ago, the cost of having an ecommerce-enabled website has decreased dramatically.

The Virtual Terminal

At Choice Merchant Solutions, we use a variety of virtual terminal providers. An honest conversation with a business owner helps us understand what the business needs for payment processing solutions. Since each provider has a different product, we can suggest the one that will be of the highest value to the business owner and his or her customers.

Here is a partial screenshot of a virtual terminal. This is all available in any web browser.

virtualterminal1

Benefits to a Virtual Merchant

One of the more unique uses for a virtual terminal is the ability to setup and process recurring billing. Some examples of these are gym memberships, subscriptions, and club dues. In other words, regularly scheduled transactions for a dollar amount.

Another benefit for a virtual merchant is the ability to set up multiple user profiles. Segmentation of user accessibility helps monitor and track employees, partners, and affiliates. It also allows restriction of user access to sensitive data. Front-end staff only need to be able to process transactions, they don’t need to see monthly revenue, sales, or other information.

It’s important not to overlook the fact that establishing your business as a virtual merchant and using a virtual payment gateway will may save you from the fees associated with using a tabletop terminal for credit card processing. That’s just an estimate though, pricing for merchant accounts is always done on a case-by-case basis.

Benefits to a Virtual Merchant

One of the more unique uses for a virtual terminal is the ability to setup and process recurring billing. Some examples of these are gym memberships, subscriptions, and club dues. In other words, regularly scheduled transactions for a dollar amount.

Another benefit for a virtual merchant is the ability to set up multiple user profiles. Segmentation of user accessibility helps monitor and track employees, partners, and affiliates. It also allows restriction of user access to sensitive data. Front-end staff only need to be able to process transactions, they don’t need to see monthly revenue, sales, or other information.

It’s important not to overlook the fact that establishing your business as a virtual merchant and using a virtual payment gateway will may save you from the fees associated with using a tabletop terminal for credit card processing. That’s just an estimate though, pricing for merchant accounts is always done on a case-by-case basis.

Data Security and You

A business merchant account is something that needs protection. A virtual merchant has the same security issues that any other business would. Although PCI Compliance’s influence is waning, the guidelines established by the PCI DSS set a solid foundation for data security for businesses of all sizes.

datasecurity

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